Sexton Says Ireland Are Wary Of Referee Wayne Barnes Ahead Of All Blacks Test

Discipline.

Wayne Barnes will be the man in the middle when number two ranked Ireland take on number one ranked New Zealand in a highly anticipated Test match at the Aviva this Saturday

Barnes last took charge of an Ireland game when they took on Scotland in the Six Nations this year – a game they won comfortably. But they have had issues with the English referee in the past.

In 2017 Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby urged referee Wayne Barnes to focus on the legality of Wales’ tactics at the breakdown ahead of their Six Nations clash at the Principality.

The English referee was highly criticised for his interpretation of the rolling away law at the breakdown when the two sides met in the Six Nations in Cardiff back in 2015. Barnes twice penalised Ireland on the Welsh line, when a maul collapsed en-route to the line and later when a scrum collapsed.

“You can’t say anything to that man. He’s not open to any kind of feedback. We’ve learned that in the past.” Ireland’s Sean O’Brien said at the time.

And ahead of this weekend’s game, Johnny Sexton, who was yellow-carded by Barnes for a breakdown offence against Wales in 2017, has said Ireland are wary of their past dealings with the Englishman.

The outhalf says Ireland pride themselves on having an excellent discipline record (it’s among the best in the world) and he says they will be extra careful this weekend.

“We pride ourselves on our discipline. We have come on the wrong side of Wayne Barnes in the past so it is something we are going to have to look at even more so this week.” Sexton said.